June 19, 2018
Let’s face it: No one really looks forward to going to the doctor. It can be even harder to find the motivation to schedule a visit when you’re feeling fine and appear to be in perfect health. But annual physicals are important — especially as you age. These visits can uncover hidden health risks, prevent future ailments, keep your weight in check, and provide insight into your overall well-being.
You can reap the rewards of good health for years to come by staying in tune with your body. The following benefits of keeping up with your annual visit may be just the push you need to schedule an appointment today.
This is arguably the most important reason to see your doctor every year. Preventative care is proven to increase longevity, as it allows your doctor to track your health and quickly identify any changes or atypical activity. Establishing a baseline will help both you and your physician understand subtle shifts in your health that you may not have otherwise noticed. Your primary care physician will also be better equipped to identify risk factors that can lead to serious conditions down the road. Many risk factors are directly related to lifestyle choices, so it’s important to be honest with your doctor when sharing details about your exercise routine, alcohol consumption, sleep patterns, and ability to manage stress.
Vaccinations aren’t just for children. According to the CDC, adults require immunizations to prevent the spread of serious and sometimes fatal diseases. By visiting the doctor each year, you can make sure your vaccinations are up-to-date, as these requirements differ based on your age, lifestyle, travel plans, and medical history.
For example, all adults should get a Tetanus and diphtheria vaccination (Tdap) every 10 years, while most adults over the age of 50 should receive the Shingles vaccine. By maintaining an annual primary care schedule, you can be sure not to accidentally miss a necessary immunization — not to mention that many health plans cover most recommended preventive vaccines.
When your doctor is able to catch a medical issue before it progresses into a serious condition, you are able to tackle the problem sooner and subsequently save yourself from hefty medical bills and more intensive treatment. For example, removing a pre-cancerous mole before it potentially develops into skin cancer will not only save you money, it will save you from needing more invasive treatment in the future.
More than half of American adults take one or more prescription drugs a day and that number continues to climb. Those who are prescribed medication take four drugs, on average, every day, with many consumers also taking over-the-counter drugs as well as vitamins or other dietary supplements. Your annual physical gives you and your doctor the opportunity to analyze your prescription program, tweaking dosage or drug type as necessary to reduce side effects or harmful medication interactions.
It’s no secret that many people put on weight as they age. By seeking an annual physical, you can make sure you’re maintaining a healthy weight that’s appropriate for your age and body type. It’s also a good time to discuss whether you’re getting enough physical activity. The benefits of routine exercise include reduced stress and anxiety, improved sleep, and increased brain functioning. Discuss what exercises might work for you with your doctor — understanding your body’s capabilities is important, especially as you first embark on your fitness journey.
Committing to self-care by scheduling your annual physical examination is only the first step in staying healthy for the long haul. Sticking to a personalized exercise program that works for you, curbing bad habits as much as possible, maintaining a healthy diet, and managing your mental health are all vital to living a long, happy life.